Fencing to get fresh start in 2009

If football, basketball or baseball just isn’t your thing, you might want to check out the fencing classes soon to be offered at Sports Blast on U.S. Highway 280.

After all, anyone can excel at fencing, said David Arias, who founded the Birmingham Fencing Club and is working on getting the Sports Blast classes together.

“I started (fencing) in my early 30s. I wanted to do something to stay in shape and I didn’t want to jog. I was intrigued by the sport,” he said. “There are no prerequisites. Things like gender, age and weight are irrelevant. The oldest member of the Birmingham Fencing Club is 90 and has two new hips.”

Arias decided to look into getting classes set up at the Sports Blast after he got calls from places like Sylacauga.

“We were getting calls from all over the state and even out of state,” he said.

Arias plans to have classes begin in February, with advanced fencing student Andrew Wages teaching. The original plan was for classes to begin in November, but Arias felt the program needed more publicity and pushed the start date back.

Wages has been fencing for a year and a half. He got into fencing because it was the first sport to really interest him, he said.

“I’ve done just about every other sport out there, and I never had anything interest me. Me and my cousin went out and took a fencing lesson, and I fell in love with it,” he said. “It’s very quick. The entire time you’re doing it, you’re having fun.”

He said he would like to one day have a shot at the Olympics, but he just wants to enjoy his time in the sport.

“My goal would be to one day compete in the Olympics, and if not, I would love to just travel the world and do different fencing competitions.”

Wages, who is a freshman at the University of Montevallo, said he’s trying to get a fencing club started on campus. Until that happens, teaching the class will do.

“I love teaching people something I love. If I personally enjoy it a lot, I love teaching why it’s a fun thing to do and why I love it so much,” he said.

The class will be $80 a month and will meet twice a week. There will likely be two classes, an adult class and a youth class.

Anybody can come into the class and learn quickly, but there’s always room for improvement. That’s part of the fun, Wages said.

“You know there is always someone out there better than you, and you try to live up to that,” he said. “Fencing is a very self-motivating sport.”